The nature of evil is difficult to define. It is, after all, a highy subjective concept, which we never encounter in any truly concrete form. And so, writers have different ideas as to what evil means, what are its goals, its methods, its limitations.
One weakness typically ascribed to the force of evil is that it cannot create. The Power of Creation
is seen as positive and Good, the purview of a God
who is probably the Big Good
of any given mythos. So, Evil Is Sterile. It cannot create, cannot imagine or have new ideas, certainly cannot produce new forms of life, because Creating Life Is Awesome
. It may be able to propogate, but only in the manner of The Virus
, by turning everything into more of itself, without the possibility of evolution, or the retention of the unique qualities that once inhabited what existed before.
Beings who have fallen under evil control, whether they are Reforged into a Minion
or taken over by their Superpowered Evil Side
, become cruder and twisted versions of themselves. They may gain power, but they lose crucial aspects that once made them special, and will probably not behave very intelligently
Symbolically, this ties in with the idea that Dark Is Evil
, because darkness is the absence of light and cannot change on its own. If is for this same reason that Good Hurts Evil
Ultimately, the hope of this kind of evil is to, at best, corrupt the whole world into being just like itself, and at worst, destroy everything. The possibility of making something new and different is anathema to it.
A typical bonus is that Evil Cannot Comprehend Good
. See also Evil Knockoff
, The Corruption
and Creative Sterility
. Compare and contrast Creating Life Is Bad
. Contrast Good Is Impotent
Anime and Manga
- Implied in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann- the Anti-Spiral opposes the growth of Spiral energy, which is produced by biological evolution. Thus, the Anti-Spiral opposes evolution and represents enforced stagnation. It has a series of protocols in place to deal with burgeoning Spiral races, which consist basically of increasing numbers of mindless automata that can only destroy. When the protagonists defeat the last of these measures, the only recourse the Anti-Spiral has is to match them in form and strength.
- In Seven Soldiers of Victory, the Sheeda are so incapable of creating things that they have to travel through time and pillage previous civilizations in order to get the resources to maintain their own. The series as a whole could be considered a meta-commentary on the comic-book industry's tendency to plunder its own continuity for ideas.
- In TRON and its sequel, Master Control and Clu respectively had this issue, which is why they were so big on repurposing opposing Programs.
- The anti-war nightmare cartoon Wizards has a minor subplot involving the evil mutants' inability to create (healthy, sustainable) life.
- Doctor Who has several villains which are stated to be this way; however, because they have to be frequently reinvented to keep the show fresh (or because the studio ran out of original props), they tend to change gradually over time. Notable examples include:
- The cybermen, your basic robot assimilators. They can't reproduce and can only create more of themselves by stealing live humans and turning them into more cybermen. They can advance technologically but are incapable of evolution, biological or cultural, as they lack both reproduction and imagination. This means that the actual power and threat of an individual Cyberman varies from one episode to another, but their weaknesses tend to be retained.
- The Daleks, your basic space fascists, invoke this by being Fantastic Racists: everything the slightest bit different from them is wrong and should be destroyed. This is, however, defied by the Cult of Skaro (a group of four Daleks who even had individual names) which was created for the sole purpose of imagination. Nevertheless, their appearance is updated frequently, and in the rebooted show has been completely redone almost every series. Their tactics also vary over time.
- In the The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion expansion Shivering Isles, the amazingly creepy Knights of Order and their master Jyggalag are said to have no original thoughts whatsoever. Their fighting style reflects this - Jyggalag uses some spells, but the knights just swing swords at you until you or they die. When Order tries subterfuge, Sheogorath concludes that things aren't going so bad - Order doesn't try creativity unless everything else has failed, and they suck at it.
- Fallout, the super mutants who are out to make all other humans mutants and destroy anything they can't transform, turn out to be sterile. This is a major plot point, as their Visionary Villain leader thinks mutants are the next evolution of humanity, and the revelation that every one of them is unable to reproduce means their race is doomed to eventually die out.
- In Dragon Age, the Darkspawn are incapable of reproducing like other species. They also seem to be mindless brutes who are only capable of destroying things, although the existence of the Architect suggests that Darkspawn may have the capacity to be less destructive if they are freed from the Archdemon's control.
- In Mass Effect 2, Mordin posits that the Reapers have no capacity for creativity, as evidenced by the fact that the creatures under their thrall are never seen creating anything.